This is technically biological anthropology, but since it belongs under the same department as archeology, this is as good place as any.
To commemorate their 125th Anniversary, National Geographic is conducting a year-long inquiry into exploration. Through a series of articles and explorer profiles, they hope to shed some light on why some people have a damnable need to see what's over the next hill.
The exploration hub can be found here
. Don't forget some of the other articles that highlight how technology is aiding modern explorers.
The Breaker of Rocks as himself.
Originally Posted by National Geographic
If an urge to explore rises in us innately, perhaps its foundation lies within our genome. In fact there is a mutation that pops up frequently in such discussions: a variant of a gene called DRD4, which helps control dopamine, a chemical brain messenger important in learning and reward. Researchers have repeatedly tied the variant, known as DRD4-7R and carried by roughly 20 percent of all humans, to curiosity and restlessness. Dozens of human studies have found that 7R makes people more likely to take risks; explore new places, ideas, foods, relationships, drugs, or sexual opportunities; and generally embrace movement, change, and adventure. Studies in animals simulating 7Rís actions suggest it increases their taste for both movement and novelty. (Not incidentally, it is also closely associated with ADHD.)
Full article: Restless Genes
Companion piece: Risk Takers